Multimedia Bulletin for RNZ

IN: RNZ News at four, Kia ora good afternoon Ko Jennifer Daruwalla ahau


Union members, parents and children protest during the first strike action held this year in response to the government’s offer to teachers

Source: Sean Stapleton

TEACHERREJECTION VCR                                               STAPLETON

Primary school teachers and principles have voted again to reject the government’s latest employment offer.

Our reporter Sean Stapleton has more from the teacher’s union.

IN: Missing from the latest government offer were provisions to reduce workloads or class sizes and a lack of funding for special needs support teachers.

Members of the Educational institute Te Ruia Roa voted via a secret online poll that was counted Tuesday night, overwhelmingly rejecting the proposal.

Union president Lynda Stuart said the result shows a clear expression that the offer failed to address member concerns.

The next step is yet to be discussed at an annual union conference next week, further strike action is possible.

OUT: This is Sean Stapleton for Radio New Zealand


MOTORWAYCRASH WRT                                        STAPLETON

A serious crash has blocked all northbound lanes on SH1 north of the Onewa road off-ramp.

A vehicle was rolled sending its driver to hospital with serious injuries.

Police do not know how long the area will be closed and are urging people to avoid it, as traffic builds across the harbour bridge.

NZTA are advising motorists to use alternative routes north via the Western Ring Route on SH16 and SH18.


AIRNZUNIONCONTRACT TP                                            STAPLETON

Today the domestic flight attendant’s union settled on a new contract

with Air New Zealand after 17 months of difficult and confidential negotiations.

E Tu Union representative Shaun O’Neill made a point that their aim was to rectify issues of equality.


IN: We basically just wanted …

OUT: …No, we deserve more.

DUR: 15 sec

“We basically just wanted a fair and reasonable contract that showed us some recognition of the amount of hard work we do as a sole flight attendant.

We stood up to Air New Zealand and stood our ground and said, “no, we deserve more.””

The new contract now gives all domestic flight attendants equal days off, and has rectified differences in stopover allowances amongst other matters, says O’Neill.


THIRDSTRIKER WRT                                               STAPLETON

For the first time, the ACT party’s three strike law has resulted in the denial of parole for a violent offender.

Third striker Hayze Neihana Waitokia received a 7-year jail sentence after stabbing someone in the leg.

The offender had 14 prior convictions, including his first two strikes which involved assault with a piece of wood and the stalking and sexual assault of a young girl.

Before 2010, Waitokia would’ve received less than 3 years, but the law is now designed to deliver a harsher sentence to repeat offenders.


PERFORMANCEPAY WRT                                        STAPLETON

Today State Services minister Chris Hipkins announced an end to performance pay for public service chief executives.

The spending reduction on pay is estimated to be around four million dollars in the next four years.

Until now executives could receive a payment of up to 15% for high performance.

The move is part of changes addressing gender pay equality and pay levels across the board, including the introduction of a living wage, says Hipkins.


OUT: That’s the news


Justification of additional stories

The story about the Teacher’s union was selected as it was timely, had the news value of continuity and is meaningful to a 4pm audience of school families driving home (Harcup & O’Neill, 2001). The protest image is a call-back to the previous one; relevant as it reminds the reader of its potential to repeat.

The flight attendant’s union story was chosen as other media outlets are yet to pick the story up as it has been kept under the radar by the parties involved. The extra audio provides further insight into negotiations.



Harcup, T., & O’Neill, D. (2001). What Is News? Galtung and Ruge revisited. Journalism Studies2(2), 261-280. doi:10.1080/14616700120042114



NZEI:        Website – Email –

E Tu:         Shaun O’Neill phone – redacted



Targeting Audiences for Breaking News

Broadcast journalism is a fast-paced industry that is constantly in flux, specifically in how outlets are adapting to the new media. There are a number of factors however that govern how broadcasters approach these platforms as well as the inherent guidelines surrounding breaking news. Through Radio New Zealand’s coverage of Don Brash being barred from a Massey University speaking engagement, I will explore the conventions surrounding how audiences are targeted through breaking news.

Don Brash’s barring from Massey University was significant as a breaking news story for a variety of reasons, as it involved reference to an elite individual, especially since he had just recently been in the press regarding freedom of speech.  It was a meaningful subject and simple in nature so it was unambiguous what had happened. This story satisfied a variety of news criteria (Harcup & O’Neill, 2001).

As breaking news, this story is inherently of interest to audiences, however, the story must be delivered in a way that appeals to a broadcaster’s key demographic. What must be considered in this case, is that Radio New Zealand (RNZ), unlike commercial broadcasters, is not aiming to secure advertisers to fund its programming. RNZ is obliged under its charter to serve the public interest, uphold freedom of speech while fostering tolerance and understanding promoting diversity and expression (2018).

RNZ defines its live radio audience as being New Zealanders 10 years and over, so in its coverage in the daily news bulletins the language focused on providing a clear and succinct summation of the events and the reasoning of Massey University’s Vice Chancellor for preventing Don Brash from speaking (2018a). [RNZ’s panel discusses venue unavailability in regards to Don Brash’s cancellation from speaking at Massey University]

RNZ’s first in-depth on-air coverage beyond a brief news bulletin was on the Panel with host Jim Mora, known for his work across television and children’s literature (2018b).  A host with a diverse background suited for driving conversations in a manner accessible to a wide age range. On the panel on the 7th of August, the day after the news had broken, were writer Clare Delore and actor/director Peter Elliot, both prominent and relevant figures in regards to New Zealand media. During the segment which opened discussion, both Delore and Elliot disagreed with the Vice Chancellor’s decision, advocating for a more open-minded approach to people with strongly opposing views. The pair also suggested that had Brash spoken, not only would students have been able to hear him, but that they would also have the opportunity to refute ideas he put forward leading to potential learning from both sides. Elliot went further to suggest gatekeeping over viewpoints such as Brash’s is against the spirit of free speech. Delore and Elliot both agreed that backing down from hosting Brash played into the continuation of threats of violence against those with views people disagree with. The panel was joined by political journalist Richard Harman during which he strengthened the aforementioned point suggesting that moves to prevent speakers who you strongly disagree with speaking feeds into extremist arguments and action accusing the left of restricting freedom. What is noticeable particularly in this panel discussion is how RNZ is championing freedom of speech and New Zealand’s tolerance for diversity of expression, key to its requirements under their charter (2018). This typifies RNZ’s manner of targeting their audience in the way they present and discuss news.Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 4.45.20 pm

[RNZ posts a link to their news article on Don brash being barred from Massey University on Twitter (2018, August 6)]

The first platform, outside of RNZ’s bulletins, on which Don Brash’s cancellation was announced came across Twitter. One of the fastest moving social media platforms, and because of its character restrictions forces news outlets to compress stories into summaries or teasers accompanied by links. RNZ’s posted via their official account, the content focusing on Brash’s quote “Orwellian nonsense” in reference to being barred(Twitter,n.d.). This approach favoured accusation and fostered controversy. Despite this story already containing strong news values and being linked to previous public debate of free speech, the way this article was been linked to twitter plays into the public desire to follow controversy (Bockzkwowski & Michelstein, 2013). As with any form of social media, users are likely to share opinions, and by posting strongly worded headlines, RNZ is likely to receive higher engagement and spark conversation. It should also be noted that the Twitter post was minimal in the detail it provided drawing users into click through to the article to find out more. This is a tactic to counter falling audience numbers amongst traditional media and the drive traffic towards their website through continuous exposure across new media (Tandoc and Johnson, 2016). [The article concerning Don Brash’s speaking cancellation that was linked to both Twitter and Facebook]

Facebook was only utilised to carry the Brash story the day after it broke. It should be noted although the same story linked on twitter was also published to Facebook, the original link on twitter to the article on the 6th of August was a much-abridged version of what is available now, as the article was updated over the course of the 24hrs after the story had broken. Unlike Twitter, which is a fast-moving hive of constant status updates, Facebook lacks the character limit which restricts longer posts and encourages quick-fire discussion. Facebook’s longer form approach, lends itself to news agencies posting their lengthier and lesseye-catchingg articles, leading to a higher representation of a broadcaster’s material being reposted to Facebook (Franklin,2014). Facebook also encourages more in depth discussion and audience engagement via emoji reactions to posts. It should be noted that RNZ’s decision not to repost their more frugal article to Facebook until it was more in depth was a choice that reflected the understanding of how best to target their audience on that platform.


As a national broadcaster charged with ensuring fair and balanced coverage of news pertinent to New Zealand citizens, Radio New Zealand performs in a manner demonstrates awareness of their audiences and demographic. RNZ is careful to uphold its chartered principles in broadcast, but open minded enough to employ strategy to best engage their audiences across multiple platforms.



Bob Franklin (2014) The Future of Journalism, Journalism Studies, 15:5, 481-499, DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2014.930254

Harcup, T., & O’Neill, D. (2001). What Is News? Galtung and Ruge revisited. Journalism Studies2(2), 261-280. doi:10.1080/14616700120042114

Massey Uni cancels Don Brash invitation over violence threat. (2018, August 06). Retrieved August 16, 2018, from

Radio New Zealand. (2018). The Radio New Zealand Charter. Retrieved August 15, 2018, from

Radio New Zealand. (2018a). Audience research. Retrieved August 16, 2018, from

Radio New Zealand. (2018b). Jim Mora. Retrieved August 16, 2018, from

Twitter. (n.d.) RNZ News. Retrieved from



How does a story evolve over time and what do you learn during that period about either stories or/and how they travel, news values or society?

Before a news story is even written, the subject must satisfy at least one of a series of conditions, according to Johan Galtung and Mari Ruge. These conditions determine whether the event or subject contains value as news. The conditions most relevant to the story I will be examining are as follows:

  • Frequency – how often an event occurs
  • Consonance – the manner in which a story aligns with the expectations of the media
  • Unexpectedness – the rarity of an event
  • Continuity – the continuation of a story being played out across the news cycle
  • Reference to elite people – the inclusion of famed individuals
  • Reference to negativity – bad news or offensive news is considered more newsworthy than good and pleasant subjects

(Harcup & O’Neill, 2001).

With these values as a guide, I will explore how a news story is covered, why it is covered and how it travels through the news cycle.

The story in question is about a right-wing Canadian couple, Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux’s attempt to enter New Zealand to host a speaking event, at a venue owned and operated by the Auckland council company Auckland Live.

Some of the earliest coverage of this event was at the beginning of July 2018, when Newstalk ZB published an article on Friday the 6th. The article declared that their New Zealand shows had been cancelled after Auckland Mayor Phil Goff tweeted that the couple would not be allowed access to council facilities for their talks. The story in question was 92 words in length.

As a stand-alone story, this article contains an infrequent event, an unexpected occurrence and reference to both elite individuals all in a relation to a negative subject. This is a strong collection of news values, but this, the coverage is initially minute. Although Southern and Molyneux are infamous online they are far from a household name, and there is little information provided by Newstalk ZB about the cancelled event suggesting the event itself was low-key and otherwise considered not particularly newsworthy. It should be noted however that while Newstalk ZB provided only a short piece on the story, it is in the nature of the publication as a radio broadcasting platform to do so, though their treatment of the story still stands as a testament to the initial evaluation of how newsworthy the occurrence was.

Two other publications, the New Zealand Herald and One News gave higher credence to the story. Each publishing articles approx. 300-900 words in length. One News preluding the cancellation of the event with protests from the New Zealand Islamic community while the Herald summed up the cancellation with a multimedia story quoting tweets from the mayor while providing a platform for the views of both the promoter and a protestor against the event.


Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 9.22.12 pm

What may initially have begun a story of outrage with the triumph of protestors over far right “extremists” was to become a story of continued opposing outrage. These initial stories paved the way for a month’s worth of continuous news coverage in what would become a national debate over freedom of speech. This story had entered the public consciousness and in following with Bockzkwowski & Michelstein would be followed closely in the public pursuit of controversy (2013). This is particularly evident on Newstalk ZB’s Facebook page where they link their news coverage. Their minor article on the cancellation drew both widespread criticism and congratulations. The Facebook post gained significantly more traction than average postings by the company, as most posts gather under 40 reactions often with even fewer comments and shares, while this particular post received over 200 comments (Newstalk ZB, n.d.).

Following the explosion of public interest in the story, the subject developed momentum leading to:


This series of events both was covered by New Zealand media organisations and caused as a result of the actions taken by them. The news values of this story had exploded. The rarity of a local council company to cancel a political event on what was claimed be be grounds of safety and concern for the property while the mayor decried the politics of the event. The unexpected nature of the cancellation and the swift and wealth of support for the far right political speakers. The number of high ranking politicians and media personalities contributing to the public debate. Last and least of all the continuous nature of the debacle. As is colloquially said by the media about such stories, “this story has legs”.

A cynic may claim that the feverish pursuit that was made by the media for this story was entirely out of self interest, as while we know conflict interests the public greatly, it is not necessarily in the best interest of the public to follow it. News organisations in New Zealand are by in large profit driven and invested in creating engaging content through which they can sell ad space to profit from the readership. As a news story with strong continuity and controversy, this would fulfill their need for engaging content.

Ideally, such a point may be countered with an argument for journalism facilitating open debate. As the supposed pillar of the fourth estate it could be said that its coverage of Southern’s failed event and its subsequent consequences is in the interest of creating a space for conversation on the limits of free speech and what constitutes censorship as is the soul of democracy (Burns, 2013).

With such high engagement levels from the public both in physical protest and across social media, including after the cancellation of the second attempt at the event being held at the Power Station, it begs the question as to whether the audience has devolved into a mass of editorial commentators and citizen journalists? Is the public simply espousing facts and figures, attempting to call attention to claims of human right violations in the interest of their own narratives? When the audience is too busy creating their own content, there is the potential for the public sphere that journalism is supposed to uphold to become crowded (Hirst, 2011). If no one is truly listening, with only arguments being put forward with little open discussion, the news simply becomes lost amongst the masses.

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 10.31.57 pm

#Powerstation and #NoRoomForRacism trending on New Zealand twitter after the cancellation of Southern’s second attempt at a New Zealand event (Twitter, n.d.).

In the case of this particular story, the general public may have overcome the messiness of the barrier of mass communication through unification. As a progressive country governed by a moderate liberal political party, a large number of the public have come together in challenging the racist views espoused by these visitors. Southern has failed to secure a speaking venue and despite funds being raised to support legal action against those supposedly censoring their speech a country they cannot lay claim to as citizens. Despite New Zealand citizen protests and barring from venues, this cannot necessarily be attributed to the success of mainstream media to uphold the pillars of the fourth estate. If anything it is a sign of the strength of the majority of New Zealand, specifically Auckland in it’s political and ideological identity against destructive foreign philosophies.

Ultimately, the coverage of Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux’s attempts has proved to be a demonstration of public obsession with conflict. While the press ideally works with the public interest in mind, public engagement will always drive profit aimed media to continue producing stories regardless of the consequences. While they remain critical, in an aim to create as much content on the subject as possible, profit driven media can give a platform to views that may threaten peaceful democratic society. A chaotic news stream only stands to benefit those who profit from engagement. An approach that values clarity over mass engagement such as Radio New Zealand’s coverage,, is much more valuable to the public. With this form of journalism, the public interest is more carefully considered and the pillars of the fourth estate remain intact.





Boczkowski, P., & Mitchelstein, E. (2013). The news gap: When the information preferences of the media and the public diverge. Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.

Burns, L. S. (2013). Understanding journalism (2nd ed.). London, United Kingdom: Sage Publications.

Harcup, T., & O’Neill, D. (2001). What Is News? Galtung and Ruge revisited. Journalism Studies2(2), 261-280. doi:10.1080/14616700120042114

Hirst, M. (2011). News 2.0: Can journalism survive the internet?. Crow’s Nest, NSW, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Newstalk ZB. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Twitter. (n.d.). Retrieved August 3, 2019, from



ANZAC Research Project to Recieve Streamlining Update

Sean Stapleton                         23/05/2018                  Measuring the ANZACs

By Sean Stapleton


Measuring the ANZACs, a project focused on digitising of World War I archives, has announced the wide-scale restructuring of its open transcription platform.

The site redesign aims to make it easier for the public to help with recording soldiers’ personal records.

The project was first unveiled two and a half years ago and has since become the second most popular project on the citizen science website Zooniverse, a platform for volunteers to aid in crowd-sourced scientific research.

Evan Roberts, Assistant Professor of Population Studies and Sociology at the University of Minnesota, founded the project.

He said his mission was to recover “the story of all those who served, from their lives before the war, through their wartime service, and what happened to them afterwards”.

As part of the redesign, the recording process will be streamlined by classifying the pages of files before they are available for transcription.

Transcription fields will be pre-classified as there is more known now about record formatting, leaving volunteers to transcribe only what is written in each field.

One of the largest changes will be in how new records are uploaded, as the current setup is as Roberts describes it, “is clunky at best”.

His current estimation is that the restructuring will be complete before the end of the year.

Evan Roberts presented the announcement at the Auckland War Memorial Museum to staff involved in the project and a group of Sociology Students from the University of Minnesota.

The students followed with a series of presentations on soldiers they had each focussed on through their project transcription work.

For many of the students, they found common ground with the young men they were researching. Austin Hurlock was particularly invested, and revealed to the group, “I found this story especially interesting to me in how it mirrored my experiences as an army veteran.”

Daniel Millar, a Content Technician for the Auckland Museum, assisted the visiting students in their research.

He believed the success of the project was due to “how small New Zealand was at that time [World War I] and how as a smaller country even now it makes records so much easier to trace”.

The focus has so far has been on the medical records of the ANZACs. Moving forward Evans aims for researchers to invest more time into misconduct records, a field he claims is often neglected out of fear of disrespect for the dead.

Making Auckland Bee-autiful​

Sean Stapleton                                           17/05/2018                                     For the Love of Bees

By Sean Stapleton

Aucklanders are abuzz in their efforts to become the most bee-friendly city in the world.

Through the City Bee Collaboration (CBC), Sarah Smuts-Kennedy aims to educate apartment dwellers on gardening and assist the development of Biological Pollinator Sanctuaries.

These ecological safe spaces are developed not only for bees but humans too, creating a place for pollinators to thrive and nutrient-dense foods to grow.

The CBC runs a series of workshops open to anyone, on everything from seed planting to bee care workshops and bike adventures that raise awareness about how bees experience the city.

Anna Dadson runs the Griffiths Gardens on Wellesley Street in the Central Business District in which she, with a number of volunteers, grows and manages over 20 plot boxes of organic plants.

“This is a biology-first teaching garden where we teach about microbiology and plant health,” says Dadson.

She says she sometimes has up to 20 students and volunteers who attend her workshops at the Griffiths Gardens and will often have pedestrians join in out of curiosity.

Paul Coe, one of the Wellesley Street volunteers, says he is keen to involve others in the project. He gets a great amount of pleasure from the gardens.

“This small area [referring to a miniature greenhouse on site] is all I have on my balcony to grow in,” he says, explaining how the project lets him thrive in a much larger gardening space.

Antonina Elliot, another student, speaks eagerly about her involvement.

“I got involved after walking past the garden every day on my way to the bus. I wanted to learn more about gardening, to understand the science, so I know what I’m doing in my own garden.”

The CBC has secured Auckland Council funding for another year to continue the Griffiths Gardens and maintain its seed bank.

At a planning meeting, contributors were excited about the opportunity to further extend their project.

“Plants love dissonant sounds, and we’re looking to see how we could involve musicians to perform in our space,” says Dadson.

Among the variety of plants at the Griffiths Gardens are hollyhocks, a flower that requires a high level of care – a sign of the dedication that goes into these gardens.

Bus Stop Blues have Mt Eden Residents Irate

Sean Stapleton                         22/03/2018                              Mt Eden vs Auckland Transport

By Sean Stapleton


Mount Eden residents are angry over Auckland Transport’s proposal to double the size of bus stop spaces in their village.

In a meeting held by the Mt Eden Business Association (MEBA), which more than 200 ratepayers attended, they outlined their submission made to AT on the proposed extensions.

The MEBA claimed that the proposal fails to respect the historical context of the village and reduces accessibility, negatively impacting their economy.

Accessibility concerns were in relation to a reduction in parking during changes to bus lane operation hours and an increase in commuter foot traffic that residents claimed had no interest in shopping.

MEBA chairman Steve Roper compared dealing with AT to, “death by a thousand cuts”, in regards to the slow and often delayed assessments, proposals and meetings.

A number of local representatives were present, engaging with residents during the meeting, including David Seymour, Christine Fletcher and a number of members of the Albert Eden Local Board.

Councilor Fletcher was vocal in her desire to hold government accountable as she believes there is a lack of culpability from the AT board. “AT has an obligation to consult the community”, claims Fletcher.

Notably absent from the meeting was a representative from AT, to the vocal disappointment from those attending.

AT reportedly declined the invitation, as it would be inappropriate to give more attention to the submission than any of the other 600 made on the proposal. When approached for further comment AT failed to respond.


MP for Epsom, David Seymour was also critical of AT’s conduct, pointing the finger at them for a lack of publically available information. “What we have been shown here tonight is of a much higher quality than what can be found on AT’s website”, claimed Seymour.

Ratepayer and activist Lisa Prager rallied meeting attendees with calls to action against the AT Board. “Our town is out of control and the council is devoid of power to reign AT in” claimed Prager, referencing public protests against AT road works.

Residents made it clear that they wanted something to come of the meeting, making it known that there was displeasure in lack of attendance from AT.

They wanted it noted that they support the MEBA submission and urged AT to reconsider their proposal. There was also a motion for AT and Auckland Council to formulate a central plan for Mount Eden before making further changes to the area.



Dog owners fear for the future of Meola Park

Sean Stapleton     25/05/2017     Meola Dog Park

By Sean Stapleton

Meloa Dog Park users are worried over the impact of Auckland Council planning developments on the park’s off leash status.

Dog owner and Westemere resident Leela Anderson expressed her fears for the park, saying that she thought the park could face re-purposing under council planning initiatives.

“It’ll either be taken away from us, or made into a ritzy playground, and as soon as you have playgrounds you can’t have dogs, because of children.”

Meola Dog Park was named by Stuff as Auckland’s best off leash dog park in 2016, and attracts dog walkers from all across the city.

Mt Roskill resident and dog owner Justine Brown said, “ I wouldn’t be coming here unless I had a dog, it wouldn’t make sense.” She was firm in saying that the park had no need for change.

Auckland Council designated the completion of development plans for Meola park as a prority in their 2017/2018 budget. The Waitematā Local Board has held several public consultation sessions on the matter since March.

Chair of the Waitematā Local Board, Pippa Coom was approached for comment on the issue, but failed to respond.

“You have to be really careful and know your dog laws going anywhere,” said Pt Chevalier resident and dog owner Nicole Russell. “Dogs need that off leash experience,” she said, in response to questions about park developments.

In 2015 there was a widescale review of dog rules by the Local Board, that resulted in the prohibition of dogs from certain local areas and restrictions on leash rules in the interests of conservation of local wild life. Meola Park was subject to a number of these changes which now restrict access for dogs outside of the off leash zone.

Anderson said that after Forest and Bird’s involvement in the application of restrictions, she fears that open submisssions may result in “over-conservative measures being applied”.